I believe we might all meet one of those people. I’m talking about people who never, ever, open up to others. They keep everything to themselves and you just wonder what you can do to make them open up. To be honest, I used to be one of those people. And in a way, I’m still like that. But only towards my family and people I don’t trust or don’t feel comfortable around.
I’m going to use the example of my best friend here. We’ve been best friends for 14 years now, and that’s a long time, I’d say. Seeing as I believe that I can’t leave this part out of my “story” of trying to make a point here (I’m not even sure if I want to make a point, though): my best friend told me that she’s in love with me, but the feelings aren’t mutual. If there was one thing that I wish existed, it would be the capability of making people fall in love with you because that would be quite perfect, my best friend could make me fall in love with her and we would both have our first relationship, hooray! Alas, that’s just fantasy and let’s not get carried away.
I’ve always known that she’s one of those people who doesn’t open up, and if she does tell me how she feels, she presents it like a joke, which makes it very hard to determine whether she’s being serious or not. The day after I had found out my best friend liked me, I wanted to talk to her and ask her what she wanted me to do: talk to her like nothing ever happened, stop talking for a while, anything. The way I spoke, or rather, typed, because it wasn’t in person, was apparently very serious and formal. The way my best friend and I usually talk to each other is in capitals and in a non-serious way. When we do talk about problems, it’s usually her telling me about things that bother her, like university and stuff with her dad. I’m the listener here. The way she tells me those things though, she makes it sounds like it doesn’t matter AT ALL. And it does, I’m sure it bothers her a lot. When I talked to her in with that serious tone, she said: “lol what is this, why are you talking in such a formal and serious way, this isn’t normal!?”. To me, it didn’t seem formal or serious at all. And even if it was, I believe that sometimes serious talks are necessary. When I asked her how she was doing and what she wanted from me, she completely avoided those questions. It’s so hard for me to get through her. Now of course I can definitely imagine that me knowing she’s in love with me makes it harder to open up to me, I’m guessing she feels incredibly uncomfortable. But even before all that she’s always acted like she doesn’t need anyone to talk to, but the truth is that I think she definitely does. Humans are “group-animals” and we need love, care and support. That’s just the way we are and of course every human is different, but those are things every human needs a certain amount of. If my best friend would open up to me, we’d have a much deeper emotional connection. I do try opening up to her, but if I don’t get any feedback, it’s very hard to keep doing so. What I’ve learned from all those years of not opening up to anyone is that it turns against you. You bottle everything up, all your negative feelings build up and up and up and there’s no end to it. Once you start opening up, little by little, you start noticing that it isn’t that bad. I still have those small panic pangs where I “relapse” (hyperbole, sorry guys) and think to myself: “oh my god why did I tell all those things, I’m never going to open up again.” But they don’t weigh up to the support and understanding I receive from my friends. I know exactly what it’s like to be one of those people and changing that is actually possible. You just have to want it, and more importantly: do it and work for it, because it’s not a restaurant and there’s no waiter who’ll bring you this. I’ve changed a lot during my six years of high school and I can say that I’ve changed the most during these 6 months of university. It’s brought me so much positive things (and of course negative things too, since I’m failing right now). Opening up to people is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. It got easier the more I did it though, like it is with a lot of things. If you’re struggling with opening up but you desperately want to, please do it. Please. It’s scary, so scary, but you’ll have so many benefits from it. The benefits I had from it: closer friendships, more confidence and trust in those friendships, mutual trust, support from others, more emotional bonding, decrease in loneliness, a less burdened feeling, more confidence (possibly), being yourself more and finding out who you are a bit more. Those are a few of the things. Now for me this definitely hasn’t solved the conflicts I fight with myself, but talking about those things helps. And I’d say that every little bit helps, doesn’t it?